NASA's Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster

Guest Posting by Ira Glickstein

Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006. NASA’s latest peak Sunspot Number for Solar Cycle #24 (SC24) is down 60% from their original, but it still seems a bit too high, judging by David Archibald’s recent WUWT posting that analogizes SC24 and SC25 to SC5 and SC6 which peaked around 50, during the cold period (Dalton minimum) of the early 1800’s.

According to Yogi Berra “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Team leader Dr. Mausumi Dikpati of NASA’s National Center for Atmospheric Research and Solar physicist Dr. David Hathaway of the National Space Science & Technology Center have most likely learned that lesson well, having predicted, back in March 2006, that SC24 would start by the end of 2006 or early 2007 and would peak 30% to 50% higher than SC23, which would yield counts of 156 to 180. The latest prediction is 64 (I love their precision :^) but I predict it will have to be reduced further, kind of like an after-Christmas sale :^)

[NOTE added 28 Dec 9:45PM. See clarification comment by: John from CA, December 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm. I was mistaken in conflating NASA with NOAA in the graphic and discussion, wrongly assuming they coordinated their Sunspot predictions. The base chart, as labeled, is from NOAA but the predictions are from Dikpati and/or Hathaway at NASA, but later ones, on a NASA website, may be personal, not official. Thanks John from CA and sorry for my ignorance of government organization. Ira]

NASA Sunspot predictions from 2006 t0 2010. Ira GlicksteinMy graphic traces the downward progression of NASA Sunspot predictions, superimposed over NASA’s NOAA’s latest chart of actual Sunspot Numbers. SC23 is shown from its peak in 2000 to its demise in 2009, along with the rise of SC24 up to the latest November 2010 data. The red hoop, peaking at 90, is left over from their previous prediction and should be replaced by their new prediction in January. [Click graphic for larger version].

As indicated, SC23 peaked at a count of 120 around January 2000. It is instructive to read NASA’s March 2006 predictions (and somewhat humorous until you realize we paid for it). Some direct quotes [emphasis added]:

“The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one,” [Dikpati] says… Dikpati’s prediction is unprecedented. In nearly-two centuries since the 11-year sunspot cycle was discovered, scientists have struggled to predict the size of future maxima—and failed. Solar maxima can be intense, as in 1958, or barely detectable, as in 1805, obeying no obvious pattern.

The key to the mystery, Dikpati realized years ago, is a conveyor belt on the sun…

Hathaway … explains: “First, remember what sunspots are–tangled knots of magnetism generated by the sun’s inner dynamo. A typical sunspot exists for just a few weeks. Then it decays, leaving behind a ‘corpse’ of weak magnetic fields.”…

“The top of the conveyor belt skims the surface of the sun, sweeping up the magnetic fields of old, dead sunspots. The ‘corpses’ are dragged down at the poles to a depth of 200,000 km where the sun’s magnetic dynamo can amplify them. Once the corpses (magnetic knots) are reincarnated (amplified), they become buoyant and float back to the surface.” Presto—new sunspots!

All this happens with massive slowness. “It takes about 40 years for the belt to complete one loop,” says Hathaway. The speed varies “anywhere from a 50-year pace (slow) to a 30-year pace (fast).”

When the belt is turning “fast,” it means that lots of magnetic fields are being swept up, and that a future sunspot cycle is going to be intense. This is a basis for forecasting: “The belt was turning fast in 1986-1996,” says Hathaway. “Old magnetic fields swept up then should re-appear as big sunspots in 2010-2011.

Like most experts in the field, Hathaway has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Dikpati’s forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.

“History shows that big sunspot cycles ‘ramp up’ faster than small ones,” he says. “I expect to see the first sunspots of the next cycle appear in late 2006 or 2007—and Solar Max to be underway by 2010 or 2011.”

Who’s right? Time will tell. Either way, a storm is coming.

Did Dikpati and Hathaway honestly believed they had cracked the Sunspot code that had eluded science for two centuries? In hindsight, we all know they were wrong in their heady predictions of a “doozy”. (A doozy, according to Webster is “an extraordinary one of its kind”. NASA expected SC24 to be extraordinarily intense. But it is shaping up to be extraordinarily weak, so they at least get credit for using the correct word :^)

But, were they being honest? Well, Hathaway had long been aware of the relationship between Sunspot counts and climate, writing:

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. … This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the ‘Little Ice Age’ when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.

Is it possible that their prediction was skewed to the high side by the prevalent opinion, in the Inconvenient Truth year of 2006, that Global Warming was “settled science”. Could it be that they felt pressured to please their colleagues and superiors by predicting a Sunspot doozy that would presage a doozy of a warm spell?

It seems to me that NASA has a long history of delayed Sunspot predictions, particularly when the trend was downward. They seem to have waited until the actual counts forced them to do so.

Have a look at the graphic. SC23 SC24 [thanks Steeptown December 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm] was supposed to start by early 2007, but it did not. Yet, it took them until October 2008 to revise their prediction of a later start and lower peak (137) and then they dropped it further in January 2009 (predicting a peak of 104 to occur in early 2012).

I am not any kind of expert on Sunspots, yet it was clear to me, nearly two years ago, that 104 was way too high so I predicted a peak of 80 and moved the date of that peak to mid-2013. NASA eventually reduced their peak to 90, and just this month down to 64, and they moved the peak date to mid-2013. My latest prediction is 60, to occur in early 2014, but I believe I may still be a bit too high.

With apologies to Pete Seeger:

Where have all the sunspots gone? NA-SA search-ing,

Where have all the sunspots go-ne? NASA don’t know.

Where have all the sunspots gone? Global Cooling, anyone?

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

Where has all the carbon gone? Green-house gas-es,

Where has all the carbon go-ne? Come down as snow!

Where has all the carbon gone? Heating houses, everyone,

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

Where has Global Warming gone? Point not tip-ping,

Where has Global Warming go-ne? Its gonna slow.

Where has Global Warming gone? Normal seasons of the Sun,

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

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I want to see a graph of NASAs predictions just to show how clueless they are.

They sneaked a new chart in on me. Eyeballing it, it looks like you’re right and the actual trend line is still below the latest prediction. They may even have a hard time keeping within their uncertainty limits on the new chart.
I’d be curious if someone has an image of the old chart to see how close the new prediction is to the uncertainty limits shown on the old chart.

I thought they debunked the idea of the conveyor on the sun just like they did for the earth’s oceans? Obviously, if your understanding of the forces working inside the sun are faulty don’t expect your predictions to pan out. Landschiedt is still the better model even though many solar scientists don’t like the idea of planetary motion influencing the sun due to the massive mass difference.

tokyoboy

You are endowed with a good sense of humor.

rc

How did they come up with their prediction? Models of course:
http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml
“BOULDER—The next sunspot cycle will be 30-50% stronger than the last one and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Predicting the Sun’s cycles accurately, years in advance, will help societies plan for active bouts of solar storms, which can slow satellite orbits, disrupt communications, and bring down power systems.
The scientists have confidence in the forecast because, in a series of test runs, the newly developed model simulated the strength of the past eight solar cycles with more than 98% accuracy.”

Well, the guys predicting sunspots via planet positions have so far beat the pants off of NASA. They guys doing “wiggle matching” of prior patterns to now have beat the pants off NASA. Has anyone NOT beat the pants off NASA?
At least these NASA guys were honest, said it was a prediction, and stand up to be counted (however short they are…) So I’ll give them credit for courage and conviction. Now if they can just look at what other folks have done right…

Brian H

Yeah, my eyeball non-linear extrapolation has been in the mid-50s for some time, well over a year. The lengthening of the cycle is even more telling. Like the slumping when much of the air has been let out of a beachball. 😉

Brian H

As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did! Until things go smash, marketing always overrules engineering and accounting.

Brian H

P.S. Solar flux is on a similar track. http://solarcycle24.com/flux.htm Predicted peak is 140, but I’m betting it won’t exceed 100.

Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006.
It is normal and proper that forecasters update the prediction with new data and insight as we get closer to the event.
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics. The method has worked for SC21, SC23, and SC23, and looks good for SC24.

Jeremy

Just another example where scientists should get out of the business of making public predictions and get back to formulating the *right* questions.

Anything is possible

With 20/20 hindsight, this makes highly entertaining reading :
http://solarchaos.blogspot.com/2008/11/history-of-cycle-24-predictions.html
Is Dr. Hathaway related to Dr. Hansen by any chance?

Leif Svalgaard says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
December 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006.
It is normal and proper that forecasters update the prediction with new data and insight as we get closer to the event.
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics. The method has worked for SC21, SC23, and SC23, and looks good for SC24.
Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….

dscott says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm
many solar scientists don’t like the idea of planetary motion influencing the sun due to the massive mass difference.
The mass is not so important. The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times, and the planetary influence will increase correspondingly. If that is not enough, move Jupiter into an orbit 100 times small than present and its influence will go up a million times. There are star systems like that.

Methow Ken

If it ends up that solar max # for SC24 is reduced even further from the latest projection of 64, that would put us at the Dalton Minimum number or even lower. If that happens, the next decade or so could indeed be VERY interesting. . . .

kim

I love it; insurance companies leading the way to the brave, new, world of post normal premiums.
==============

Robin Kool

The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
See: http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

Ranger Joe

Just a bit of boring trivia. If I’m not mistaken the superlative ‘doozy’ is old 30’s slang for the classic Deusenberg automobile. ‘Doozy’ is the Hep Cat equivalent of ‘The Cat’s Pajamas’ or ‘The Bee’s Knees’. They were spectacularly beautiful well made expensive works of art. The most desirable ride of it’s day. Every kid wanted one. Leno’s got a few in his collection. The Hollywood movie star car.

John F. Hultquist

Leif,
The link takes us to a paper dated May 20, 2010.
Your chart is suggesting 72. Is that correct?
When did you first establish 72 as your prediction?
Earlier than that I think.

Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.

The following is a compilation of NASA’s solar prediction/observation press releases over the last 7 years. Those before 2009 are nothing short of awful, but there appears to have been some improvement (a decrease in wild speculation and sensationalism) since 2009:
Nov 12, 2003: “The Sun Goes Haywire – Solar maximum is years past, yet the sun has been remarkably active lately. Is the sunspot cycle broken?”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/12nov_haywire.htm
Oct 18, 2004: “Something strange happened on the sun last week: all the sunspots vanished. This is a sign, say scientists, that solar minimum is coming sooner than expected.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/18oct_solarminimum.htm
May 5, 2005: “Solar Myth – With solar minimum near, the sun continues to be surprisingly active.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/05may_solarmyth.htm
Sept 15, 2005: “Solar Minimum Explodes – Solar minimum is looking strangely like Solar Max.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/15sep_solarminexplodes.htm
Aug 15th, 2006: “Backward Sunspot – A strange little sunspot may herald the coming of one of the stormiest solar cycles in decades.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/15aug_backwards.htm
Dec 21, 2006 “Scientists Predict Big Solar Cycle – Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/21dec_cycle24.htm
Dec 14, 2007 “Is a New Solar Cycle Beginning? – The solar physics community is abuzz this week. ”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/14dec_excitement.htm
Jan 10, 2008: “Solar Cycle 24 – Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/10jan_solarcycle24.htm
March 28, 2008: “Old Solar Cycle Returns – Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/28mar_oldcycle.htm
July 11, 2008: “What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing) – Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/11jul_solarcycleupdate.htm
Sept. 30, 2008: “Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age
– Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low – We’re experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/30sep_blankyear.htm
Nov. 7, 2008: The Sun Shows Signs of Life – I think solar minimum is behind us”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/07nov_signsoflife.htm
April 1, 2009: Deep Solar Minimum – We’re experiencing a very deep solar minimum – This is the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm
May 29, 2009: “If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29may_noaaprediction.htm
June 17, 2009: “Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved? The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17jun_jetstream.htm
September 3, 2009: “Are Sunspots Disappearing? – The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing?
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/03sep_sunspots.htm
September 29, 2009 “Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High – In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. “The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to re-think how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29sep_cosmicrays.htm
March 12, 2010 “NASA – Solar ‘Current of Fire’ Speeds Up – the top of the sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years. ”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/12mar_conveyorbelt/
July 15, 2010 “A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere – This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15jul_thermosphere/
Sept. 21, 2010: “Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/21sep_zigzag/
Dec. 13, 2010: “Global Eruption Rocks the Sun – A global eruption on the sun has shattered old ideas about solar activity.”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/13dec_globaleruption/
My question to NASA, is the sun still “behaving normally” and what exactly is normal behavior for a 4.6 Billion year-old G-type Main Sequence Star?

Brian H

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….
//
Direct marketing pressure, huh?
Are you also prepared to attest that covering H’s fundament didn’t occur to or influence any of the panel?

John in NZ

The test of a good theory is how well it can make predictions. Is it fair to say that their repeated failure to successfully predict indicates there is something terribly wrong with the theory, or am I just being picky.
Thanks to Ranger Joe for the explanation of “doozy”. I have always loved the word.

Also, here is part of a November 3rd 2009 interview with “David Hathaway, Ph.D., NASA Heliospheric Team Leader” :
http://sc25.com/index.php?id=114
In reference the question, “What Happened to 2006 Predictions of Huge Solar Cycle 24?” he stated that, “I am writing a paper – it’s on my computer as we speak (laughs) – basically saying that I made a big mistake – myself and Bob Wilson – when we wrote a paper in 2006, suggesting Solar Cycle 24 was going to be a huge cycle based on conditions at that time. The problem we had with our prediction was that it was based on a method that assumes that we’re near sunspot cycle minimum.”
Additionally, in response to the question, “IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT THE SUN IS BOTH PECULIAR AND UNPREDICTABLE?”, he stated. “Yeah, I’d buy that! (laughs) Most definitely!”
Also interesting in the interview is David’s statement in reference to our resident solar expert:
“But there also were people back at that time saying otherwise. A group of colleagues led by Leif Svalgaard, Ph.D., were looking at the sun’s polar fields and saying even at that point, the sun’s polar fields were significantly weaker than they had been before and those scientists back then predicted it was going to be a small cycle.”
I give David Hathaway credit for admitting his mistakes and giving credit where credits due, though I wish he’d have given the interview to a source that doesn’t have a paywall:
http://www.earthfiles.com/subscription.php?accesscheck=%2Fnews.php

trbixler

50 has been my call even when the sky rocket energy influenced NASA had called for the doozy. Not that there is any science behind it other than it is a nice round number and as my energy taxes go up I can know it was all for aggrandizement of government.

JinOH

As a ham radio operator – I don’t need to see NASA’s silly predictions – I can tell you 100% the predictions have failed miserably. I should be in H.F. ecstasy by now – alas, no go. This cycle is flat to dead (so far). I’m bummed out. I really like H.F. communications with my fellow hams around the world – more than – a window of 10 minutes to 1/2 hour (at best) to the far east (on a GOOD day).
Yet the NASA/CRU/IPCC ‘Gurus’ can predict the friggin CLIMATE 40-100 years in advance using flawed data.
I still amazes me that man can try to predict or control what nature does.
Hopefully, I’ll get that advanced warning in the spring that tells me a tornado is about to hit my house. Er – I won’t.
73

Mick

Dr. Svalgaard, my respect (high alredy) just grow with this:
“…the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….”
I take a bow.
Best Regards,
Mick of Oz.

Marc DeRosa

People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that these would be incredibly accurate in the first place, given that (1) the sun is a complicated, nonlinear system that does not lend itself well to long-term predictions, and (2) the input parameters thought to be required for good predictions are available for at most 30 historical cycles, and thus any hindcasting used to test candidate methods can only be tested on a statistically small number of previous cycles.
People also need to keep in mind that NASA, like many other government-funded entities, is often in the business of drawing attention to (for the purpose of drumming up support for) its programs, and so making big splashes with attention-grabbing headlines about cutting-edge science should be expected. Perceptive people realize that such cutting-edge science results need to be taken with the usual grain of salt associated with cutting-edge science. Essentially what I’m trying to say is (in more succinct internet lingo): YMMV.

Al Gored

I assume these same insurance companies are raising premiums on oceanfront property due to predictions of sea level rise too, as well as for everything somehow linked to the future horrors of climate disruption.

So according to insiders, NASA’s sunspots predictions are subject to extortionist actions of the insurance companies who insure satellites?
Let’s not go off the deep conspiracy end here, please. I would like to see some evidence of that contention. Otherwise it sounds like a paltry excuse for gross incompetence by an agency infamous for its catastrophic failures.
Did the Mafia-like insurance companies also cause the Challenger disaster? The Martian lander crash? Which insurance companies are they? AIG? What other NASA programs are subject to extortion by insurance companies? Are they the same companies behind the Da Vinci Code? Area 51? Are they Birthers?

Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm
Are you also prepared to attest that covering H’s fundament didn’t occur to or influence any of the panel?
I cannot speak for the others, but I was not pressured or didn’t feel that there was any influence. Now, there was pressure for getting a very high prediction. One can only speculate why [and such is not too useful]. My own assessment was that NASA and NOAA wanted to push the ‘breakthrough” theory they had funded. But the panel showed its independence by 1) initially not following the governments instructions to produce a single number, but being split, and 2) eventually going with a low prediction [although still too high IMO].
John F. Hultquist says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm
When did you first establish 72 as your prediction? Earlier than that I think.
The original prediction was for 75 in 2004. The later development of the polar fields suggested a lower value, hence 72. Slide 30 of http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf shows how we arrive at 72. Now, we are really predicting 6 active regions [and statistically in the past the sunspot number is 12 times the number of regions]. If Livingston and Penn are correct, some of those regions might not be visible [except on magnetograms], so who knows what the sunspot will be. In a sense, the number of visible spots is not a good measure of solar activity. Rather the magnetic regions [and the attendant F10.7 and UV] are. This is what we must predict.

old construction worker

‘Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….
That, I could believe.

Marc DeRosa says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that these would be incredibly accurate in the first place
Marc is, of course, correct here. There are even good scientists [e.g. Tobias] who claim that prediction is essentially impossible. Every new solar cycle is, practically, a test of the current crop of ‘theories’ or guesses. This game is new and is still a guessing game, [although with some physical support]. Here I discount the astrologers [and other cyclomanics] who claim to predict with incredible precision hundreds of years in the future. Such predictions are rather safe as we’ll not be around to see them fail.

Brian H

Marc;
More like BBB.

Jim G

At least no one is claiming that the sunspot counts are lower because the counts are actually getting larger!

Werner Brozek

Marc DeRosa says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions……Perceptive people realize that such cutting-edge science results need to be taken with the usual grain of salt…”
It seems to me that everything you said about sunspot cycle predictions could be appropriately modified for future climate predictions. And with that being the case, a good argument could be made that not too much money should be spent based on these types of predictions. Or are NASA’s predictions on climate more credible?

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.

I can feel the fear in your voice from here. NASA now predicting a lower figure than yourself. I have not needed to change my prediction (2008) of sub 50, this prediction is based on solid data which has the ability to recognize a grand minimum when its coming. The northern hemisphere winter prediction also very nicely on track.

kim

A question no one can answer, so I ask it anyway. Two phenomena; weak cycle and the Livingston and Penn Effect. Are they related?
===========

Werner Brozek

“Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm
The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times, and the planetary influence will increase correspondingly.”
So in other words, even though the force of gravity varies inversely as the square of the distance, the tidal effect vary inversely as the cube of the distance. Is that correct?

Steeptown

Typo “SC23 was supposed to start by early 2007, but it did not.” Should be SC24.
[Thanks, fixed. Ira]

old44

NASA’s latest peak Sunspot Number for Solar Cycle #24 (SC24) is down 60% from their original
What exactly is the fine line between prediction and wild guesses?

old44

Second thought, how many of NASA’s statisticians would get a job with a bookmaker?

DeNihilist

Like Dr. Walt, I respect Dr. Hathaway for being so truthful. Nothing wrong in making a prediction. It only becomes bad when you try to cover up the mistake by hiding the data, using ad-homs, or just generaly being beligerent. Dr. Hathaway is none of the above.

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics.

Leif, we can surely see signs of stellar cycles out there on a million stars with the same mass, age, spectral class, chemical composition, etc. as the Sun. How are they doing?

Geoff Sharp says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm
I can feel the fear in your voice from here.
What nonsense.
NASA now predicting a lower figure than yourself.
L&P predicts zero spots…
I have not needed to change my prediction (2008) of sub 50, this prediction is based on solid data which has the ability to recognize a grand minimum when its coming.
The data has no ability. A theory has, and you don’t have any theory.
Werner Brozek says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm
the tidal effect vary inversely as the cube of the distance. Is that correct?
Yes
Berényi Péter says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:02 am
Leif, we can surely see signs of stellar cycles out there on a million stars with the same mass, age, spectral class, chemical composition, etc. as the Sun. How are they doing?
We see stellar cycles in sun-like stars. There is a tendency for the periods to cluster around 10 years, but there is large scatter.

kim says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:20 pm
A question no one can answer, so I ask it anyway. Two phenomena; weak cycle and the Livingston and Penn Effect. Are they related?
Not related….but the same thing.

Berényi Péter says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:02 am
How are they doing?
Some material here: http://www.lowell.edu/workshops/SolarAnalogsII/program.php

Michael

I just thank God every day for the solar minimum. Some people need to learn a hard lesson. It’s the Sun Stupid.
I suppose this horrific body count from the freezing weather conditions don’t matter to the man-made global warming cult.
“A total of 11,193 deaths were registered in England and Wales bet­ween December 3 and 10, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.
This is a 21 per cent rise on the previous week, which works out at 282 extra deaths every day.”
Britain’s big freeze death toll hits 300 every day
Nearly 300 more people a day died when freezing temperatures hit at the start of this month, new figures show.
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/851254-britains-big-freeze-death-toll-hits-300-every-day

Brian H

Werner;
AFAIK, gravity also varies as the inverse square of the distance. But Jupiter is around 500 million miles from the Sun now; moving it in to 50 million would put it just inside Venus’ orbit, and only about 40 million miles from Earth (closest approach) vs. about 400 million miles now. Furthest would go from about 600 million mi. to 100 million mi. Average from 550 million down to 70 million. (Very rough rounded figures.)
So I don’t see how Lief gets his number. Maybe he’ll explain.
[Partial sentence removed by request… bl57~mod]